The Hawaii Asia-Pacific Affairs Leadership Program 2019-2020 Cohort:
Kaili Ayers is a Master’s degree candidate in International Relations at the Harvard Extension School and currently works as a Bilingual Claims Specialist at the Social Security Administration. Before receiving her BA in Japanese/English Interpretation and Translation from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, Kaili studied at International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan where she established fluency in the Japanese language and an understanding of Japanese society on a personal and intercultural level. She hopes to impact positive change within the Asia-Pacific region through the encouragement of economic interdependence and multilateral relations.
Jeremiah Bonilla, an aspiring Foreign Service Officer, is currently pursuing his MA in Asian Studies with an Inter-Asia focus at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where he also received his BA in Asian Studies with a certificate in Peace Studies. As part of the large Filipino community in Hawaii, Jeremiah hopes to utilize his fluency in both Ilocano and Tagalog to develop a research project on contemporary issues related to migrant workers and terrorism in Southeast Asia. Jeremiah is currently learning Mandarin and plans to try every dish from Asia.
Ada Davis-Nouri is a PhD student at UH Mānoa studying Indigenous Politics. Her research focuses on Small Island Developing States and the Pacific region at large. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Tallinn University in Tallinn, Estonia. She has been living and working throughout the Pacific region in Fiji, Samoa, and Hawaii since 2017.
Allison Fluetsch is completing her fourth year of undergraduate studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in Political Science and History, with an emphasis on the Korean Peninsula and the Asia-Pacific region. During her year-long stay in Korea, she gained fluency in the language and participated as an intern and cultural ambassador at the Korea Furniture Museum, a museum and event host for Seoul’s diplomatic community. Upon the completion of her undergraduate degree, Allison hopes to continue her studies in International Relations or Korean Studies.
Lura Harvey is a Staff Sergeant in the United States Air Force and holds a BA in Environmental Studies from Franklin University Switzerland. Before joining the military, Lura worked in the non-profit sector supporting environmental and public policy initiatives. She graduated from the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California with an Associate’s in Chinese Mandarin. Lura plans to pursue graduate studies in Foreign Service. In addition to academic pursuits, Lura is an avid rock climber, runner, and physical training coach. She’ll be running the Honolulu Marathon in December and has plans to climb in Yosemite National Park in 2020.
Jay-Paul Lenker is an energy analyst for the State of Hawaii at the Public Utilities Commission, working on transitioning the state to 100 percent renewable resources. Before coming to Hawaii, he held positions in Washington, DC at the US Department of Energy, various foreign policy think tanks, and a national security focused media company. He graduated from the University of Tennessee with a BA in Political Science.
Nanea Lo is from Papakōlea, O‘ahu. She is a Kanaka Maoli (native Hawaiian) Master’s candidate at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning. Through civic engagement and community organizing, Lo advocates for Hawaiian sovereignty, aloha ‘āina, and feminism. She has been a part of innovative local and international programs such as Kuleana Academy, Young Pacific Leaders, and Peace Scholars. She believes that relationships are the fabric of life and is excited to better understand Asia and the Pacific through the APAL Program.
Justin Menina is completing his studies in political science and economics at University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. He’s a Sustainable & Resilient Communities Intern at the Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency, as well as a College Ambassador for the College of Social Sciences. For his honors thesis he’s conducting funded research on place-making and gentrification in Kaka’ako and, with the UH Institute for Sustainability and Resilience, will begin modeling autonomous vehicles in support of the O’ahu Climate Action Plan. Justin hopes to pursue a PhD to address socioeconomic inequalities and realize sustainable urban development in the Asia-Pacific region.
Erica Nakanishi-Stanis is the Study Tour Director at the Pacific & Asian Affairs Council (PAAC), a non-profit dedicated to developing engaged global citizens among Hawaii’s youth. She previously served as a volunteer interpreter (English/Japanese/Spanish) aboard the Peace Boat, a Japan-based international NGO working to promote peace, human rights, and sustainability. Her prior professional experience includes working at the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR) in Tokyo and the Chiba City International Association as a participant on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BA in Anthropology.
Austin Price is a Lieutenant in the United States Army and holds a BA in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. Prior to joining the Army Austin served as a policy intern with the DC Office of Senator Rob Portman and as a research intern at the William J. Perry Center. He is proficient in Mandarin Chinese, a proud alumnus of the International Chinese Language Program (ICLP) and Forum for American-Chinese Exchange at Stanford (FACES), and plans to begin his graduate studies early next year.